Please click on the underlined track titles to hear the MP3 sample track…
The music on this intriguing album is extremely emotional and evocative.
The central focus is on Sally’s singing, which is both intimate and expressive. It has been described as ‘chameleon like and beautiful… ranging from softly melodic to eastern influenced in its fluidity’. The instrumentation involves piano, cello, violin, double bass, flute, cornet, harp, tabla, classical guitar and saxophone.
This lush and varied texture provides an almost orchestral backing which ebbs and swells beneath Sally’s voice. “Doherty’s songs are often slow and intense. The delicate sounds of the instruments make them comparable with the soothing soundtracks that Michael Nyman is known for.”
Reviews of Sleepy Memory
“Originally released in 1998, this release is now being distributed internationally by World Serpent. Some might recognise Sally from her work with L’Orchestre Noir and Sol Invictus. On this, her second release, Sally’s gentle and gliding voice blankets a small ensemble consisting of double bass, cello, violin, harp, flute, cornet and most prominently piano. While I personally hate to drop others’ names for comparison, this CD could easily be a comprehensible and vocally trained Elizabeth Fraser fronting the Johnsons. The music is soothing and the production flawless. It’s brief enough at under 45 minutes, but is full enough with 13 shining songs. I imagine Doherty certainly should be a hit with the Serpent crowd, but with any luck it can most definitely cross some genres.”—The Brain, Webzine, USA, October 2000.
“Following the successful release of the soundtrack that Sally composed for the BBC documentary ‘Empire of Death’, the 1998 second album of the Sol Invictus and L’Orchestre Noir musician undergoes a re-release that will hopefully be as warmly received by the public. In contrast to the instrumental ‘Empire of Death’ soundtrack, Sally Doherty’s elf-like, enchanting voice interacts here with arrangements that are predominately directed by piano, that undergo a soft accentuation from strings, bass, flute and wind instruments. Both Sally Doherty’s vocal performances and also the minimalist instrumentation are so varied and melodic that one very quickly falls in love with ‘Sleepy Memory’.”—Dirk Hoffman, Zillo, Germany, 2001.
“If one can imagine Kate Bush singing to music composed by Michael Nyman on a cargo ship in the middle of the ocean, with sailors from India and Arabia sometimes joining in on their instruments… well then, you’re on the right track. Easy listening it is not, but so much more rewarding once you’ve given this album your full concentration. This is perfect autumn music… for a moment of melancholic contemplation when the leaves are swirling outside.” —Soma, Sweden, issue #7.
“The music scene rarely produces an artist who can be described as genuinely, 100% unique, but for Sally Doherty that definition is—for once—absolutely spot on. The instrumental line up of the Sumacs—flute, cello, piano, double bass, cornet, tabla, classical guitar, sax and harp—is the first clue that this music does not fit neatly into any current pigeonhole or genre. Like a mini ‘world’ orchestra, the band provides the emotional textures over which Doherty’s expressive vocals can range. Equal parts ethereal, soulful and haunting, her voice flows on melodies both sensuous and soothing. Slow and intense, Sleepy Memory is an album that absorbs the listener with its intimacy and depth. A record of contemplation, this truly alternative musical experience heralds the arrival of an innovative and inspired talent.”—Colin Hall, What’s on in London, April 1999.
“This is a stunning new album from Sally Doherty, tracks such as ‘Silent’, ‘Waiting’ and ‘The Stolen Mirror’ are majestic, haunting and dramatic. ‘Sleepy Memory’ has a thread of mysterious beauty.“— David Dunn, The Star (Sheffield), 1998.
“Well it isn‘t pop music that‘s for sure. And it ain‘t jazz, classical, world or folk either. More a combination of elements of the lot with Doherty‘s unique vocal style taking it somewhere different again. Doherty has a sad and haunting voice… the music is almost pastoral in atmosphere… a lot of it is delicate and quiet but always enthralling.”—Martin Lilleker, The Sheffield Telegraph, 1998.
“Sally Doherty has unique approach to her style of music, cello, piano, double bass, clarinet and flute provide the perfect accompaniment to the most perfect voice. Slow and intense, her songs draw on a folk tradition, but are right up to the minute. The delicate sounds of the instruments make them comparable with the soothing sound tracks that Michael Nyman is known for.” —James Williams.
“Sleepy memories usually occur in moments of quiet reflection, when we are not at the mercy of more pressing matters; in our solitude we remember the things that have—for better or worse—shaped ourself and our future, and in our memories we quietly sleep… Sleepy memory, childlike and comforting, warm hands close around, lulling into soundlessness… yes, exactly. Much like the aforementioned phenomenon, Sleepy Memory (Sally Doherty’s second release) is the sort of thing we eagerly await, knowing something this stirring comes to us all too infrequently. Sally Doherty’s voice is quiet, though not quiet in the sense of inaudible, mind you; it is appropriately restrained for the ‘greater glory that is the recording’. Make no mistake, her voice carries potency sufficient to grab one’s attention immediately, lush and breathy, slightly Celtic, yet intimating Middle Eastern influences in vocal patterns at times. The backing music is every bit as potent, in a quiet way, of course. The Sumacs, with aid from other players of harp, Indian tablas, cornet, and double bass, as well as classical guitar, weave an elegant web around those vocals, in turn playful and melodramatic, yet always appropriate to the theme. Fans of classical, European folk, or any other music whatsoever, should pay this some attention.”—Boyd Kant, Last Sigh, USA, April 2001.